Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

makes 2 dozen

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for the bottom of the dish and drizzling 

24 medium mushrooms, about 1-1 1/2-inch diameter, stems removed and finely chopped, caps reserved

1/2 cup finely diced fennel bulbs, reserving fronds for garnish or presentation

1/4 cup finely diced sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup finely grated Fontina cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

1/4 chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste (optional)

1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 extra large egg

1/4 cup panko crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Lightly coat the bottom of a 9x13x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with olive oil.  In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.  Add the mushroom stems,  fennel, tomatoes, and garlic.  Sauté until the vegetables are tender and the fennel is beginning to brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Add the white wine and cook until the wine has almost evaporated scraping up any browned bits.  Transfer the vegetables to a medium bowl and cool for 10 minutes.  Mix in the Fontina, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil, balsamic vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and black pepper to taste.  Add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined.  

In a small bowl, combine the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the panko crumbs, set aside.  Fill the cavities of the mushrooms with the mixture, mounding and pressing to adhere.  Carefully dip the tops of the mushrooms into the panko mixture, gently rolling to coat the entire top of the filling mixture.  Place the mushrooms in the prepared baking dish cavity side up.  Drizzle the tops with additional olive oil.  Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the tops are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.  Garnish with fennel fronds if desired.  Enjoy!

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